Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Immigrant rights group files complaint against Santa Clarita councilman over 'proud racist' remark

Los Angeles-based immigrant rights advocates announced Tuesday that they have filed formal complaints against a Santa Clarita councilman they say deserves to be censured for violating the city’s code of ethics and conduct by declaring himself “a proud racist.”

The Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition has sent letters to state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley and the U.S. Department of Justice, alleging that Councilman Bob Kellar “breached the public’s trust and has acted in an unethical, racist, xenophobic and biased manner by making public comments scapegoating so-called illegal immigrants.”

The group also alleges that Kellar violated at least eight provisions of Santa Clarita’s ethics and conduct policy, which requires that municipal leaders be “independent, impartial and accountable to the people they serve.”

The complaint further targets the remaining members of the Santa Clarita City Council, who the immigrant rights’ advocates charge violated their “fiduciary duties and responsibilities...by not speaking out and condemning” Kellar’s statements.

The legal complaint stems from a Jan. 16 anti-illegal-immigration rally in Santa Clarita, where Kellar, a veteran councilman and two-time mayor, spoke. In his comments, Kellar referred to a statement by former President Theodore Roosevelt that the United States has a place for only one flag and only one language.

Kellar, a former LAPD officer, said those remarks caused some people to accuse him of being racist, to which he replied that if believing in America causes people to think he's a racist, "then I'm a proud racist."

The councilman has said that he stands by his remarks, which he said were personal and have been misconstrued. He insisted that he abhors racism, and he has received zealous support from many Santa Clarita residents.

But the immigrant rights advocates said that Kellar was introduced as a councilman during the anti-illegal immigration rally, and they quoted from a transcript of Kellar’s remarks in which he spoke about conducting business at City Hall the day before the gathering.

They also accuse Kellar of being a member of the Santa Clarita Valley Independent Minutemen group -- a staunch anti-illegal immigration organization whose members sometimes patrol the U.S.-Mexico border in an attempt to prevent illicit crossings. Kellar has denied being a member of the group, which helped organize the rally at which he spoke.

“He should have explained that he was speaking as an individual and not as a public figure,” said John Fernandez, a member of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition.

“When a duly elected leader promotes divisive speech, that is essentially hate speech,” said Robert Gittelson, another coalition member.

Supporters of Kellar jeered the immigrant rights advocates, chanted the councilman’s name and at one point physically tried to prevent the advocates from briefing the press in front of Santa Clarita City Hall before a scheduled council meeting Tuesday.

“A man voiced his personal opinion; that is not a violation,” shouted Randy Thompson, a Santa Clarita resident since 1967. “Bob Kellar stated that he is against illegals. He supports American laws.”

“Get of my town right now,” one woman screamed from her car. “Who do you think you are? Do you read the papers? Everyone here is behind Bob Kellar.”

Chris Hall, who has lived in Santa Clarita for four years, said he was saddened by the rowdy spectacle between the rival groups. “This is painful for me to watch,” said Hall, who has worked in the city for 15 years. “It’s getting totally out of control. It affects our community.”

Speaking at the council meeting, Kellar said he had been bombarded with calls and e-mails, and had had several conversations with residents who expressed concerns about the affect illegal immigrants were having on the city. He suggested the council include the issue of illegal immigration on a future agenda. Other council members suggested organizing a study session on the matter.

-- Ann M. Simmons in Santa Clarita

Comments () | Archives (133)

At the end of the day, one thing holds true, too much of anything is bad for you. Everyone is welcome to the US but when too much of one people come flooding in, it hurts everyone. A " Day without a Mexican" would include.... the end of traffic in Los angeles and all major cities, the end to our prison overpopulation nation wide, no more over crowded schools, Jobs for every American and all other illegal immigrant races, crime rate would drop 35%, the list would go on and on, and dont tell me Americans are too proud to pick fruit or house keep they do it in Nebraska and Wisconsin everyday

What about "Congresswomen" or "Councilmen" who speak at pro-illegal immigration rallies or speak at any event really.. Any "political" issue is divisive, so by speaking and not saying "I am here as an individual", you're using hate-speech? I love the double-standard.

He has an opinion, it might be wrong, it might be right - but he's not allowed to have an opinion? If he'd said "I support amnesty for all illegals", would he still be in trouble (with anyone except the voters)?

he is human bob make a mistake but saing that he need to apoliged to those people he afended.

Keller in '12

Unbelievable that illegal citizens have more rights than our own citizens.
We are proud to be Americans and speak ENGLISH. We need America back..
I agree completely with Kellar! Good Job!

I am white and I am pissed off at what has become of a once proud nation.

I am sick and tired of reverse discrimination, I am sick and tired of no representation from my gov't that my taxes support.

I am ashamed to be a white man, we do nothing but sit around and complain, we are put down and discriminated against because of our color and we do nothing. Our children do not have the same opportunities as children of color and if we speak out for our rights we are called racists.

I am ashamed of my race because you do nothing, you are afraid to stand up for yourselves or even your children because of a little word. You deserve to lose your country and your rights as citizens because you lack the courage to do the right thing. STOP BEING AFRAID!!

I agree with Kellar. The immigrant rights advocates are just looking to attack on words changing the subject which only cloggs up our system. I've even read articles discussing the definition "illegal" as being wrong. What is it then we should call you? The topic of immigration should be the only concern.

Why it is OK for every criminal or just lazy individual from all over the world to run illegally over US border and loudly demand full rights, subsidized housing and medical benefits? At the same time why is it so wrong for an US Citizen to speak in defense of the laws of United States? The so called "immigrant rights groups" are no more that loud mouths that are trying to cash in of the much to accepting and lenient Americans. If Kellar or any other person who speaks in defense of law of their country is a "proud racist," sighn me into the club.

A LEGAL immigrant who proudly calls United States of America his home (in English)

Illegal immigrants are draining our country of it's resources. I've seen many illegal immigrants with full Medi-Cal health and Welfare benefits without even having a social security number. ..Everyone who is here LEGALLY is paying for it one way or another. Illegal immigration needs to be addressed and dealt with like it or not.

I believe in one flag and one country with one language- the least folks can do when they come here is learn the language. I am not happy to pay with my hard-earned money for illegal immigrants and their many children, and I am sick of the politics of extreme leftists who cater to these people in order to gain their votes and stay in power.

I am so tired of mexicans being the scapegoats. There are illegal immigrants from all over the world that are currently living in the U.S. If americans are so tired of illegal immigrants crossing over then stop complaining and build a wall along the border. I have one question though, are you tired of illegal immigrants when they take care of your kids, clean your house, or when they clean your yard??

The minute anyone - public official or not - speaks up against illegal/undocumented immigrants, groups like the FRIC immediately scream "racism." Thereby diverting attention from the real issue at hand and cowering others into silence.

The issue is a serious one. The FRIC does nothing to promote its cause by playing the race card and bullying the politicians to do its will. Filing complaints with the AG office and others in an effort to get Mr. Kellar censured if not worse? Really? All it does is strengthen the resolve of those of us who want to see the flow of lawbreaking non-citizens stopped.

As someone who has been personally affected on several levels by the issue of illegal immigration I have had my fill of the pro-amnesty groups and their rhetoric.

No more.

Say goodbye to your free education,to your free medical,welfare and section 8 housing,your days are NUMBERED. The people of this state are FED-UP!

Kellar is 100% correct. Illegals who snuck in are criminals with zero rights. That includes the right to protest. Go home and fix your broken country. Don't ruin ours.


Well now, if the vast majority of the Hispanic immigrants came into the United States legally instead of committing the crime of illegal immigration, they would not have to worry about their rights or their access to legal services. The fact remains, most hispanic immigrants are here illegally, they drain our resources, commit the vast majority of the crimes, and cause the standard of living and property values to fall when they overwhelm our neighborhoods. They need to go back to their own countries and fix their corrupt governments and leave the United States to the Americans.

Iam a immigrant myself, when i came to this wonderful coutry i did not know the english language and i went to primary and high school and some college. iam retired from the u.s. army and know working for the goverment. and i could not agree more with mr. keller. i did know the language and i learned it, i pay taxes, and i vote. so i will like to nominate mr keller for president of the U.S.A.
iam tired of people that have no right to go to school get preferential treatment over my kids and that come from mexico with mexican tags to bring their kids to the same school, they should pay foreign student rates.
and iam also tired that my kids can not work at mcdonalds because they hire people that they don't have to pay benefits to. and the list goes on and on
you people that are fighting for the illigal groups you should put an even greater effort to fitht for our rights.
i also think that everyone that is able to serve in the military should do so specially those who want to fight for something. the marines are always looking for a few good men.
be proud be american be a veteran


Imagine going to another country, breaking the laws of that country, then demanding that they change their laws to benefit you. We are the fools for putting up with this ridiculousness. And the race or country of origin of the people committing the crime has nothing to do with it. I would feel the exact same way if our country bordered China, Kenya or Germany and their citizens violated our laws by coming here illegally. We all need to tell it like it is like Mr. Kellar.

Imagine going to another country, breaking the laws of that country, then demanding that they change their laws to benefit you. We are the fools for putting up with this ridiculousness. And the race or country of origin of the people committing the crime has nothing to do with it. I would feel the exact same way if our country bordered China, Kenya or Germany and their citizens violated our laws by coming here illegally. We all need to tell it like it is like Mr. Kellar.

I agree. When there is a need to speak english, many illegal (mexicans) and other illegal immigrants MUST have someone else, like their 10 year old child, translate for them. Too Many times this is repeated, instead of our country making it a "Mandate" that all persons know and speak the Dominate Language of The United States of America: English.

The problem with all of this is the confusion and hatred that is stemming from people who are being misunderstood. I am Mexican America born in the USofA and I cherish the Constitional right to bear arms to stand up and be counted in voice and and to be protected of my rights to free speech. The thing is that many of these so-called American freedom people have hang ups that include xenophobic tendencies towards people who are different then they are. That is were the message is getting lost. We cant blame illegals for the problems we face as a nation because that would be to easy. The problem is that many of those who have power and money are the ones that are pulling all the strings. They abuse this power and in fact are the ones that want all of us citizens to divide and conquer so that the real enemies of this country never get justice. They want all of citizens to be against one another and therefore in doing that they the Elite still maintain their power. Dont be blind people. And stop blaming the Illegals look to see who hires them..Its mostly White Rich, Europeans decendents..You see we belive in the Constitution and our right to be free in this country but unless the Racial thing is solved you people are all doomed to destruction..

I am going to guess that the overwhelming majority of people writing here did nothing to become American citizens other than happen to be born to American parents. When Americans first arrived in California, when it was a part of Spain and then Mexico, they had no problem sticking with English. And, as an American citizen currently living overseas, I can stay that there are many Amricans living in other countries without learning the local language. Finally, someone can be adamantly against illegal immigration without calling themelves a proud racist (it plays into the stereotypes some have of those who oppose illegal immigration).

when is the federal goverment going to stand up for us and hear our voice, we want to integrate other people to our country, but we need to stop the huge influx of immigrants to the u.s. I think another issue is we teach american education in spanish at the cost to taxpayers its a dual education system one ours one theirs. no rights for ANY illegal no matter what country of origin.

RE/I'm a proud African AMERICAN father. I agree with Kellar......i want my country back

Then go back to Africa!

Freedom of Speech is one of our strongest laws. There are two ruling laws in the US one for Illegals and one for American citizens and if you don't believe this go sit in court one day.
If you are ILLEGAL that mean Illegal you have no rights here, you are a visitor. If you go against the laws you should be deported but this does not happen. My father's family is from Italy and came here with the proper papers and became US citizens.
Any other country does not put up with this. Remember 9/11.
Bob, I do not always agree with you but on this I do.

« | 1 2 3 4 5 6 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: